The harpsichord, played alone or with voice and chamber instruments, is the star of Serenata of Santa Fe’s “Harpsichord Fandango” concert in Santa Fe Sunday.
Harpsichordist Kathleen McIntosh will collaborate with special guest mezzo-soprano Consuelo Sañudo, violinists Stephen Redfield and Kathie Jarrett, violist Marlow Fisher, cellist Sally Guenther and oboist and Serenata of Santa Fe artistic director Pamela Epple to present a variety of pieces from the Baroque to the contemporary.
Spanish singer Sañudo, who used to live in Santa Fe, has studied and performed oratorios in Germany and the U.S. She earned her bachelor’s degree in music at Brandeis University and studied philosophy and mathematics in Santa Fe at St. John’s College. Sañudo lives and works in Madison, Wis., often collaborating with pianist and composer Jeff Gibbens, as well as appearing regularly as a soloist with the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble.
“I suggested to Pamela that I sing the overture from David Dies’ opera ‘Hills like White Elephants’ because I performed in the premiere of the opera in Wisconsin,” Sañudo said. “This was his doctoral thesis. The opera is very modern and very beautiful. It works a lot with overtones. Originally, it was written for a small chamber orchestra. This version is for two violins, a viola and a cello.”
Sañudo also wanted to sing Bach’s “Cantata 199,” a solo cantata for soprano composed in 1714. “With music and poetry, it’s like a mini opera,” she added.
Epple will perform with Sañudo when she sings “Ten Blake Songs” by Ralph Vaughan Wiliams. Texts from “Songs of Innocence and of Experience” are set to music with oboe accompaniment.
McIntosh, who is based in Santa Fe, frequently travels to perform with groups including the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin in Moscow and the Vietnam National Symphony in Hanoi. A guest artist with the Santa Fe Chamber Festival since 1996 and Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival since 1999, she also has been a featured artist in the Esteban Salas Festival in Havana and the Festival de Musica Antigua in Lima.
During “Harpsichord Fandango,” she will showcase several works by contemporary composer Ron McKean.
“Ron McKean is himself a fine organist and harpsichordist and has an intimate knowledge of the timbres that sound best on the instrument,” McIntosh said in an e-mail. “In his piece ‘The King Shall Come,’ the first of the Sacred Harp Dyads, he uses big, lush broken chords that capitalize on the rich sonorities of a French harpsichord. And in ‘Primrose’ he emphasizes the harpsichord’s rhythmic crispness. For me, he has written a Ciaconna whose recurring theme is expansive and thoughtful. Between statements of this theme, he explores various textures – arpeggiated chords, the richness of the lower register, the silvery quality of the higher. It is unashamedly tonal throughout but never dull harmonically.”
While most Serenata of Santa Fe concerts take place at the Scottish Rite Center, this concert will be held at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe.